TASA 2016


Panel at TASA. #thatleantho

The Australian Sociological Association’s Annual Conference was held in Melbourne this year, just as I was there visiting Beyond Behaviour Change and the Centre for Urban Research at RMIT. So it was great timing to join the Environment and Society stream. I presented some more of the work from the Institutional Rhythms project and joined in a short question panel on practice theory and sustainability.


The title of my talk was ‘Fixity and Flexibility in Hospital Discharge: Temporal Rhythms and How to Entrain Them‘.


The lens of practice theory. Designed and produced by Sarah Royston.


It was great to see lots of new projects presented in the Environment and Society stream that were taking a practice theory approach to investigating interesting empirical cases. There was some more discussion before and after the session about ‘using’ the ‘lens’ of practice theory. See Elizabeth Shove’s contribution in a collection of Responses to the PBES Thinking Notes for more on this.

Publication: Health and Place


A new special issue in Health and Place on Exercise and Environment and edited by Russell Hitchings and Alan Latham will be published shortly. I have an article in this issue which is available online now here. (An open access version of the accepted manuscript is available here.)

The article is based on empirical work that I conducted while doing my doctoral research, which was, in part, on the establishment and maintenance of habits and routines.

BBC Writing Retreat to Phillip Island


While in Australia, I was lucky enough to join the BBCers on a writing retreat to Phillip Island.

We stayed in a great house a short walk from the beach.

During the day we worked on papers, chapters, and proposals that we shared with each other for feedback, and during the down time in the evening we got involved in all kinds of activities including great dinners, yoga, walking on the beach after having fish and chips and keeping a look out for small furry animals!




A highlight was going to the Penguin Parade – which is exactly what is sounds like – and seeing some Koalas in the Conservation Centre. And getting lots of writing done as well, of course!


BBC Social Practices Reading Group: Lefebvre Régulier. 1985. The Rhythmanalytical Project


I joined the Beyond Behaviour Change Social Practices reading group for a discussion of Lefebvre and Régulier’s article on ‘The Rhythmanalytical Project’.

We read the version translated by Mohamed Zayani in Rethinking Marxism: Lefebvre, H. and Régulier, C. (translated by Zayani, M.) 1999. The Rhythmanalytical Project. Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture and Society, Vol 11 (1) pp. 5-13, but you can also find this piece, translated by Stuart Elden, in the back of the rhythmanalysis book: Lefebvre H. ([1992] 2004) Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life, London, New York: Continuum.

We used the following questions for discussion:

  1. Reflecting on some of the ideas introduced in this paper, how do theories of social practice currently account for time? How does this compare (or not) with ideas of rhythmanalysis?
  2. Relatedly, does ‘a detailed description’ of the ‘fragments of time that enumerate mundane activities that fill up fragments of time (such as eating, dressing, cleaning, moving about, and the like)’ referred to on page 8 (fourth paragraph) equate with a description of practices as we usually describe them?
  3. Do Lefebvre and Régulier’s ideas of rhythmanalysis better assist with accounting for bodies as the loci of multiple practices than post-humanist theories of social practice? What might their ideas offer that might currently be underplayed in theories of social practice?

Visiting Beyond Behaviour Change at RMIT

RMIT_POS_2COLI’m currently undertaking an international visiting fellowship at RMIT in Melbourne visiting Cecily Maller, Yolande Strengers, and colleagues in the Beyond Behaviour Change research programme, which is part of the Centre for Urban Research.

While I’m here I will be working on the Institutional Rhythms project, analysing the interview data from the empirical work and writing the first papers.

I will also be working on some new projects with Cecily and Yolande and taking part in a whole load of activities that are going on in the research centre including reading groups, seminars, and a writing retreat.

Cecily and Yolande have promised to show me some of the wildlife that Australia has to offer as well!


First Event for the Institutional Rhythms and Energy Demand Working Group

On the 13th September 2016, we held the first impact workshop for the Institutional Rhythms project. The Institutional Rhythms and Energy Demand working group, which brings together hospital staff, managers, and clinicians; sustainability professionals working in and with the NHS; and academics working in the DEMAND centre, met for the first time at Lancaster University. The aim of the working group is to explore the potential scope that large institutions (like hospitals) have for shifting the timing of working arrangements as a way of steering demand for energy, travel, and consumables, and for reducing related carbon emissions and costs to the NHS.


In this first of these three linked events, the working group learned about the DEMAND centre’s innovative approach to end use energy demand,  investigated opportunities for intervention arising from the Institutional Rhythms project, and tackled two specific sticky problems for energy demand and travel in hospitals. (There was, of course, also enough time to squeeze in a game of floorball!)

A full report and set of photographs from the first workshop are available here.

The next working group meeting will be held at Airedale General Hospital on the 7th February 2017 when members will begin collaborating on a series of case studies inspired by Institutional Rhythms project, that can be disseminated across the NHS as examples of opportunities for reconfiguring the timings of working arrangements as a way of shaping patterns of demand for energy, travel, and goods.